I've never been a big America's Got Talent fan, but I've thought for a while that it would be fun to go to a live taping to gaze upon the spectacle in person. Well, looks like I've missed my window.
NBC has announced that Howard Stern will replace Piers Morgan (CNN talk show host/British dude) as a judge on America's Got Talent. Making it easier for him to judge talent while hosting his satellite radio show, the NBC show is moving from Los Angeles to Stern's home base in New York City.
As someone who watches reality television (hey, stop throwing things), I know there's always feelings of unease and discontent when a show makes a big change like this. However, I'm cautiously optimistic for the following reasons:
- Piers Morgan fulfilled the Simon Cowell-esque role of interesting British guy, but as he noted himself, he was struggling to juggle both his talk show and his hosting duties, and as much as producers may have wanted him to be, he was still no Simon Cowell.
- I thought that American Idol would be a complete disaster once Simon Cowell left and they brought in celeb judges Stephen Tyler and Jennifer Lopez, but I was wrong, as they did an excellent job in their first season together. They ended up falling into roles similar to the original judges, with Stephen Tyler playing Paula Abdul, J. Lo playing Randy Jackson, and Randy Jackson playing Simon Cowell. (Confusing, I know.)
- Stern adds a bit of the sense of danger that Simon brought to early seasons of American Idol where you didn't know what horrible thing he might say next. Stern's not the controversial bad boy he once was, but he's still certainly happy to speak freely, and if he brings some of that to America's Got Talent, it may bring a fun new flavor to the proceedings.
Will Stern fare better than Morgan at trying to keep two high-profile gigs going at once? We'll find out next summer on NBC, and likely before that as Stern continues offering his take on his satellite radio show.